One dead following snowmobile crash in Dodge County

DODGE COUNTY (WITI) -- A 24-year-old Lake Mills woman died Sunday, December 15th after crashing her snowmobile on a frozen river near Highway BB in Dodge County.

That woman has been identified as 24-year-old Katie Braasch.

Dodge County officials responded to the scene around 4:21 p.m.

A preliminary investigation shows that six snowmobiles were traveling south on a frozen river, when the second snowmobile, operated by Braasch, drove into an open water area and began a clockwise slide.

Officials say the snowmobile stuck trees near the east side of the river and came to an abrupt stop. Braasch was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the third snowmobile in line, operated by a 26-year-old man from Sun Prairie, saw the crash and the open water, and jumped off his snowmobile. The man sustained severe, but non-life threatening injuries.

Authorities say the other four snowmobiles were not involved in the crash.

Alcohol and speed are believed to be factors in this case.

Officials say alcohol and speed are the two things that are most likely to cause a snowmobile crash.

Officials say 20 people died last year in snowmobile crashes -- an increase from year's past.

Officials say when snowmobile trails are closed, those riding snowmobiles are able to drive on frozen rivers and lakes, but being aware of the conditions first is crucial.

Rivers that have a current take longer to freeze over, and even a lake that looks frozen can have weak spots.

DNR officials advise talking with a local ice fisherman because they get daily ice reports.

Snowmobilers between the ages of 12 and 29 are required to take a safety course -- offered online and in the classroom.

No additional details have been released and the incident remains under investigation.